AirAsia 7 kilo carry-on weight limit tested

AirAsia checked our carry-on weight limit!

For the first time in our four years of global wandering, one of our carry-on bags was weighed. It happened at the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia airport (KUL) as we headed to our departure gate for a flight to Bali, Indonesia.

To be clear, it wasn’t just us or any particular flight. At the approach to the first security clearance area, where the cordoned line-up begins, there were two AirAsia employees with a small digital scale who appeared to be weighing every passenger’s carry on bag.

We didn’t even notice them in the cluster of people that were gathered until they politely asked us to put our wheeled backpack onto the scale.

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The scale readout flashed 8 kilos exactly.

The bag was one kilo over, but we were waved through with a smile. After the weigh-in, we breathed a sigh of relief and quickly made our way into the security area. 

Three carry-on pieces of luggage, the largest one weighed 8 kilos - just over the carry-on weight limit for AirAsia.

We currently travel with one paid checked bag (not pictured above), one carry-on wheeled backpack, and both myself and my wife each carry a smaller backpack as well.

AirAsia’s official carry-on weight limit

The rules state each passenger may bring one carry-on bag not exceeding 56cm x 36cm x 23cm in dimensions and one personal item not exceeding 40cm x 30cm x 10cm, with a COMBINED weight of no more than 7 kilos (15.4 pounds).

It is a low – and worrisome – threshold. Most every other air carrier allows each passenger one carry-on weighing less than 10 kilos – AND a small personal item (usually without a stated weight restriction).

Thankfully, AirAsia did not require us to add one of the smaller backpacks to the scale. Each of those was pretty well loaded and probably weighed 4-5 kilos on their own. Both smaller backpacks were being worn on our bodies at the ‘weigh in’ and were either not noticed or ignored by the airline personnel.

We have now flown AirAsia four times – all in 2019. We did suffer a two-hour delay from Chiang Mai, Thailand to Kuala Lumpur in early August, but otherwise, each flight has been pleasant, uneventful and an excellent value.

They do offer upgraded seating, but the service and comfort level in the ‘cheap seats’ is adequate for us, especially on the short duration flights we’ve booked.

Leg room on an AirAsia flight from Penang, Malaysia, to Phuket, Thailand.

I’d equate the overall experience to Southwest in the US, EasyJet in Europe, and Volaris in Mexico.

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AirAsia is certainly known for their cut-rate fares and routes throughout Asia. And our flights around Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia have all been in the $35 to $50 range per person. Usually the fare has been only slightly more than comparable bus or train transport — with a huge time savings and far less visa hassle.

In fact, according to the Center for Aviation, AirAsia is the largest low cost carrier (LCC) in Southeast Asia – and one of the few profitable ones. In our experience, AirAsia fares are usually the lowest, often substantially. And some airports and routes seem to almost ‘belong to’ the company.

In Kuala Lumpur, where AirAsia is based, the whole concourse where our carry-on weight limit was tested looked to be exclusive to AirAsia flights. This likely explains the one scale weighing all carry-ons.

Bottom line: we appreciate AirAsia’s leniency in enforcing their regulations.
AirAsia plane wing in the sky over somewhere in Thailand.

Truthfully, the 7-kilo limit seems unreasonably low. But if passengers are allowed to exceed the stated maximum by some reasonable measure, then the carry-on weight limits do more closely match those of other airlines. We can only wonder what would have happened had the weighed bag been ‘grossly’ over 7 kilos – or if we’d been required to weigh and combine a personal item.

It should be noted that checked bag charges on AirAsia, and other carriers in the Southeast Asia region, are lower than elsewhere in the world. In fact, we now customarily pay $12 to $16 to check our larger, heavier (up to 20 kilos) backpack on flights.

Still, we always want to travel for the lowest cost possible.

And thus we intend to continue to pay for one jam-packed checked bag while carrying properly sized carry-ons. Hopefully, AirAsia will continue to allow some leeway in their 7-kilo weight restriction — or better yet, not weigh our bags at all… lol.

As always, happy trails & more beer — life is now!

We smile for the camera after passing the carry-on weight limit on our AirAsia flight.

The AirAsia website is here. They also have a nifty app Ellen likes.

This is an independent blog. We get nothing in return for any praises sung.

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